Ah, maybe the universe was telling me not to go through with it.
No joke, my DVD of this movie was glitched to shit so I had to buy it (again) just to get this review done. And while I can't say Once Upon A Time In Mexico is a bad movie, I can however say it is the weakest of The Mexico Trilogy and also the weakest of the Once Upon A Time In movies I've seen. But why that is is simultaneously very easy to describe and yet difficult to describe. The plot actually was a bit hard keeping up with, it starts off innocently enough with another bar shootout with our Mariachi and his lovely lady wife Carolina but it quickly shifts tracks and narrowly misses careening off a cliff. Our main lead is roped into a very complicated ploy to have the presidente of Culiacan assasinated by cartel members, and you know there's a lot of ins, a lot of outs, a lot of what have yous, and while I can appreciate Robert Rodriguez going bigger with the plot I feel it was a bit too much. There are so many characters, strands, and connections to juggle, now that might have been just me and my day being difficult but I was lagging like Quicktime in the 90s man. And with a cast like this, they have quite a few talented good actors in this and yet shockingly give them so little to do yet take up I honestly believe more screen time than Mariachi himself is mindboggingly impossible. Cause you see this cast, Eva Mendes, Johnny Depp, Willem Dafoe, Mickey Rourke, and you think man this is gonna be good. Naw. Eva gets maybe 5 brief scenes, Willem Dafoe is for some reason a mexican cartel leader and I'm not saying he can't do it but it is kinda weird. You thought Charlton Heston playing a mexican was bad casting, that's like if they got me to be a character born and raised in Brazil or Ecuador, just doesn't fit. Mickey Rourke has even less to do than Eva, but I have to admit Johnny gets a good bit of screen time and made me laugh the most. But this just doesn't seem like a movie meant to be a continuation of Desperado, it seems more Sicario directed by Robert Rodriguez with special guest star Antonio Banderas. You follow me? It's just off ever so slightly in terms of story. But does that necessarily mean the other aspects are lessened? Not at all, it still feels like a film directed by the same guy and an aspect I really really liked is you can tell he was like, oh this movie Desperado is going to have elements of El Mariachi but have more done with it and the same goes for this movie, taking elements of Desperado and doing more with it, upping the ante. The action is a bit sparse but done really well with flourishes seen in previous movies, the music is still solid, the sets and locations couldn't be mistaken for anything but Mexico, it has good bits of humor, the story is jumbled but when it focuses on Antonio it is good stuff, I think it just needed some more time to cook. I'm not disappointed, I don't hate it, I can see elements and appreciate them, it's a totally decent flick albeit a less than fitting end. I give it 2.5 stars, 6.5/10. I think I appreciate and dig El Mariachi the most, but I can concede Desparado is the objectively better film, so I can walk away still happy I got to finally see these movies and talk about them a bit. Next week, Jordan Peele visits again and it's looking to be a short but potentially sweet week.
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